(3 / 5)
Okay, let’s do this.
Hard-bitten cop “Dirty” Harry Callahan must save San Francisco from a killer who’s bumping off resident celebrities. No, wait, sorry: that’s The Dead Pool. Deadpool is the latest addition to FOX’s Not-Quite Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s their Guardians of the Galaxy with the weirdness factor ramped up to eleven.
The red-suited mutant wisecracker is a role for which star Ryan Reynolds has a definite affinity. Ever since X-Men: Origins gave him a platform then sewed up his mouth, Reynolds has been fighting for a standalone Deadpool movie. It’s to his credit that the once and former Green Lantern actor more than takes his in-movie licks for both mistakes of the past and his offscreen PEOPLE Magazine persona.
Deadpool’s genre-skewing, emoticon-laden marketing may, perhaps, be more consistently inventive than the film itself, but, working within the bounds of otherwise standard genre fare, director Tim Miller manages to give a few solid kicks to the fourth wall.
Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is a mercenary with a smart mouth who’s clearly made some bad life choices. His luck changes, though, when he meets Vanessa (Morena Baccarrin), an equally quirky escort with whom he falls madly, if somewhat unconventionally, in love. After a year of holiday-themed debauchery, Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer with only one hope of survival: to take part in an experimental program designed to create superheroes.
Having been subjected to the tender mercies of the smirking Ajax AKA Francis (Ed Skrein — Jason Statham without the boisterous swagger), Wade finds himself with a new ability that makes him more or less indestructible, but with an unfortunate side effect that also makes him, in his own words, “completely unfuckable”.
As such, the newly christened Deadpool heads out to track down Ajax and get his pretty boy face back. Freezing the action at inopportune moments to offer commentary, Deadpool himself straddles the line between endearing and annoying, just like his comic counterpart.
Violent, silly, profane, and self-aware, the film feels very much like the talkative, ADHD younger cousin of the X-Men franchise; even to the extent that it includes two of Xavier’s team, moralizing metal giant, Colossus (Stefan Kapičić), and the sullen, atomic-powered Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), trying to recruit Deadpool.
If you’re looking for the operatic, you’d be best to check out Batman v. Superman. If you’re looking for an all-star cast, Captain America: Civil War could be just the ticket. Still, if a deeply meta, crass yet sensitive romantic(ish)-comedy sounds like a your gore-filled, profanity-laden cup of tea, there’s nothing much else like it out there.1
1 And a footnote free review, thank you very much, Ben and Rob. Oh wait, sh*t…